Frequently Asked Questions for Colonoscopy

Frequently Asked Questions


What medications can I take the day of the procedure?

Your blood pressure medication, any heart medication, and seizure medication.

When do I need to stop and restart my blood thinners?

You can continue to take aspirin theraphy unless specifically instructed not to by your physicians.  Plavix and Coumadin need to be stopped five days before the procedure.  Your physician will tell you after the procedure when to restart your blood thinners.  If there were no biopsies or polyp removal, you may be asked to restart your blood thinnners on the day of the procedure.

One of the medications I was instructed to take the morning of my procedure is red.  Can I take them?

Medications for blood pressure, heart conditions, and seizures should be taken the morning of your examination regardless of the color.


I am confused on the clear liquid diet because the instructions say not to drink anything red or purple.

The colors red and purple can persist in the colon and potentially look like blood.

Can I drink alcoholic beverages?

We strongly suggest that you do not drink any alcoholic beverages prior to your procedure since they can cause dehydration and some wines may thin your blood.

Can I drink any nutritional supplements?

You may drink Ensure (chocolate and vanilla) or Slim-Fast with Soy Protein/Lactose Free.  These drinks are water based, not milk based.

Can I chew gum or suck candy?

No gum chewing but yes to hard candy but nothing with soft centers or red color.

Can I have chicken soup?

You can have the broth: no noodles, chicken, or vegetables are allowed.

Laxative Drink:

Do I have to get up in the middle of the night to drink the prep?

Yes, you have to drink one dose the night before at 5 or 6 pm and the second dose is to be taken 5 hours before the procedure.  If your procedure is at 8 am, you will need to drink the second dose at 3 am and finish it 4 hours prior to the procedure.

I started drinking the prep an hour ago and I have not gone yet.

Everyone’s system is different.  Continue drinking the prep and it should kick in soon.

I went to the pharmacy and I cannot afford to pay that much for my prep.  Is there anything cheaper?

Yes, there is and we will send it in for you and go over the instructions on how to drink the prep.

Can I have a colonoscopy without sedation? What is I do not have a driver?

You can.  You will be able to watch the prcedure it you want to.  You can drive yourself back home and there are no other restriction.  Three of our physicians had colonoscopy without sedation.

Can I have my colonoscopy without prep?

Without cleaning out the colon, your doctor will not be able to see ployps or cancerous lesions.

What are the risks of incomplete prep?

If the colon is not clean enough, your doctor may decide to stop the procedure and ask you to reschedule.  This means you have to repeat the bowel prep process, reschedule a driver, miss another day of work, and possible absorb the cost and the risk of a second procedure.  A good prep will mean a thorough examination.

Why do I have to drink so much?

This is a large amount to drink but it works by flushing our your system or waste material over several hours.  The solution gently “washes” the bowel clean.  Do not just sip the solution.  If is important you drink eight ounces every 15 to 30 minutes.  It does not absorb into your body, nor does it cause you to become dehydrated.

Is there any way that I can make this taste better?

Please see the tips on your instruction sheet.

I feel like vomiting and do not think I can drink anymore.  What should I do?

It is important that you continue drinking the solution if possible.  Remember that it is the large volume that helps emplty your bowel.  Without a clean bowel, the doctor will not be able to see the inside of your colon to complete your examination.  If you do vomit, wait 30 minutes, and begin drinking the solution again.  You might try taking six ounces at a time, rather than eight ounces, and suck on a lemon drop or piece of hard candy.  If no improved, call us and have a phone number of an open pharmacy in case we need to call in a prescription.

I am taking the prep and now having loose, watery stools.  Do I still need the rest of the prep?

Your stool should look like yellow urine and you should be able to see the bottom of the commode after the bowel movement.

I already have diarrhea before taking the prep, do I still have to take the laxative?

Yes, you must take the prep as directed by your doctor.  your colon is approximately five feet long.  The entire colon must be emptied for your physician to see the colon clearly.

I see yellow color in the toilet and a few flecks.  What do I do?

If you drank the entire solution or is your last bowel movements were clear enough that you are able to see the bottom of the commode, you should be fine.  If is okay if you have some flecks of material. The yellow color is a result of bile that normally colors the feces.  This should not interfere with the examination.

My bottom is sore.  What can I do?

To clean the area, avoid rubbing.  Gently pat with a wet washcloth.  Apply Vasoline. Preparation H, or Desitin liberally.  When finished with prep you can soak in a warm tub or water.

What if I am still passing stool the morning of my test?

Take a tap water enema until clear. If this does not work, call the office.

I am on a fluid restriction due to medical problems, is it safe to drink all this prep?

The fluid in this prep is formulated to flush through your intestinal tract and not absorb in your blood stream.  It is considered the safest prep for patients with a history of congestive heart failure and kidney failure.


I have no symptoms and I have not family history of colon cancer.  Do I still need to have a screening colonoscopy?

Early cancer and polyps do not produce symptoms.  By the time one develops symptoms the colon cancer has already advanced.  Colonoscopy is the best screening test for colon cancer and can save your life.

Can I have the colonoscopy done if I am on my menstral period?

Yes, the procedure can still be performed.  We ask that you use a tampon is possible (not absolutely necessary).

Does my driver need to stay with me while I am having my proceudre?

Yes, the driver needs to stay in the waiting room and needs to be available to speak to the doctor after the procedure in the recovery room.

I have anxiety and I am anxious about my procedure and going to sleep.

We have a relaxation tape that helps to relieve anxiety prior to the procedure.  LIsten to the tape before the procedure.  It will take about 5 to 10 minutes to listen to.